In the consumer world, things are changing. Buyers are no longer looking for the cheapest prices; they’re looking to buy from a brand they believe in. They want to partner with brands that share their values, and from brands they feel connected to.
The exact same shift is taking place in the business world. A huge change has taken place recently which has seen hiring leaders place less importance on formal qualifications, instead prioritising cultural fit. They’re looking for people with a particular personal brand; a reputation that speaks for who they are and what they’re capable of, rather than simply focusing on what they’ve done in the past.
And for entrepreneurs building their own businesses, a personal brand is perhaps even more vital. Your brand communicates your experience, your passion, your character, and your potential. Your personal brand is your unique differentiator. Today, businesses aren’t the superstars. It’s the people behind them that count. This means there’s never been a better time to establish yourself as an industry leader.
Why Build a Personal Brand?
Emerging into the business world as a blank slate may seem like a good idea. It’s a way of being flexible and allowing yourself to tailor your approach based on demand. But the truth is that a blank canvas provides opportunities for anyone to draw on it. When you’re not clear on who you are as a professional, others have the chance to shape you and define you. Your mission is to prevent that happening.
And that’s why a personal brand is important. You need to be able to brand yourself before others do it for you. Be who you are… not who others say you are.
How to Build Your Brand
The biggest problem with a personal brand is that it can either be your strongest asset, or your weakest link. Build your brand in the right way, and you’ve got a powerful, ready-made persona that you can share with the world. Build it the wrong way, and you’re putting out a message that doesn’t align with your character.
So, here are our 6 top tips for building a successful personal brand:
1. Get to know yourself
You can’t build a personal brand if you don’t know who you are as a person. So the first step is always to pause and really think about what matters to you. Note down your goals, aims, visions, beliefs, and values, and bring them all together to form a single, simple picture of your character. When you understand yourself more intimately, it becomes easier to build a personal brand that reflects who you are.
2. Separate yourself from your work
This can often be a very tricky task, even though it sounds easy. A business brand and a personal brand are very different, and a mistake many people make is that they build their personal brand on the foundation of their business, or their job role. Your work is not who you are. Try to separate these two sides of yourself and build a brand that aligns with you… not your professional responsibilities. Just you.
3. Keep It lean
It’s natural to want to build a brand that pleases everyone. But in reality, that’s never going to happen. So don’t build a vague brand with broad yet weak appeal; build a more niche, more lean brand that connects exceptionally with a smaller audience. Cherry pick the most important aspects of your character and persona, and focus on these areas as a way to create strong, meaningful relationships.
4. Take the right actions
Building a personal brand isn’t just about saying ‘this is who I am’… it’s about being able to back up your statements with real actions, too. A brand is more than just words. It’s a combination of words, behaviours, activities, and efforts which all come together to paint a complete picture. So, if your brand is one built on supporting others and inspiring younger generations, back this up by mentoring, for example.
5. Ask for help
No successful person is ‘self-made’. Every successful person out there is who they are because of the support of others around them. If you’re unsure of the best way to build your personal brand, ask for help. There’s no shame in it! Chat with a trusted friend, colleague, or mentor, ask for feedback on your brand, ask them how they view you, and use all this valuable information to shape your professional image.
6. Be consistent
One of the most important things to remember about building a brand is that, just like when building a business brand, you must be consistent. Your brand will follow you wherever you go – both online and offline – and it must communicate the same message across all channels. Therefore, your brand should be sustainable; it must be something that you can share reliably and consistently, no matter where you are.
Entrepreneurs and industry leaders today cannot hide behind their businesses. Your business must have a more personal side that helps you stand out from the competition in a market that’s becoming increasingly competitive. Differentiation is the key to success, and there’s nothing that makes you more unique than you!
The power of people is greater than you may think. Imagine you’re interviewing for a fantastic leadership opportunity. There could be many qualified applicants, all with the same level of experience and expertise. These are things that anyone can have. But only you can be you. Only you have your unique personal brand. And it’s time to use this to your advantage. It’s no longer what you do that matters. It’s who you are.
ARE YOU READY TO CREATE AN IMAGE TO MATCH YOUR GOALS?
Join Griselda on the Personal Branding Masterclass to find out how she has leveraged her brand across multiple industries and careers.